NBN hits gigabit speeds in HFC lab trial

Prepares for potential 2018 commercial launch of DOCSIS 3.1

NBN has achieved downstream speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second over a hybrid-fibre coaxial (HFC) connection in lab trials using the DOCSIS 3.1 standard.

During the trials in Melbourne the company hits upload speeds of 100 megabits per second.

NBN said it will conduct more lab tests in August followed by field trials in December. The company is planning to potentially roll the technology out for its HFC customers in 2018.

“DOCSIS 3.1 is going to be able to provide fantastic gigabit potential for end users – just as our Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network does today,” NBN CEO Bill Morrow said in a statement.

“The best news is that we will be able to bring gigabit broadband to these premises far more quickly, cost effectively and with less disruption to end users than alternate technologies in these busy urban areas.”

NBN in 2015 originally announced its intention to deploy DOCSIS 3.1. The standard supports theoretical maximum speeds of 10Gbps per second down and 1Gbps up.

The company has also previously indicated an interest in moving its HFC network to full duplex DOCSIS 3.1, which could offer speeds of up to 10/10Gbps.

NBN in April revealed it had been accepted as a member of CableLabs, an international R&D body focused on cable networks that maintains the DOCSIS standards.

HFC is one of the key fixed-lined technologies being used for the National Broadband Network.

NBN’s HFC infrastructure is based on the cable networks originally rolled out by Telstra and Optus. The most recent breakdown of technologies released by the company revealed that as of the end of March, just over 351,000 premises were hooked up to the network using HFC (63,195 of them had active services).

Almost 1.9 million households and businesses were connected by fibre to the node (FTTN — which includes fibre to the building, or FTTB) and almost 1.5 million were connected using fibre to the premises (FTTP).

NBN’s most recent corporate plan — released in August 2016 — revealed that the company had slashed the number of premises it expected to use HFC from 4 million to 2.5-3.2 million. Instead the company said it would connect more premises using FTTN, FTTB and fibre to the curb (FTTC).

At the time the company said that change was because of a higher cost per premise to connect households using HFC compared to FTTN. NBN revealed in September it had scrapped its plan to use Optus’ HFC infrastructure, except for in one Brisbane suburb. Instead, due to the condition of the HFC network it would roll out more FTTC.

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Tags broadbandNetworkingnbn conational broadband networkNational Broadband Network (NBN)Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC)

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